I recently received the following e-mail:
Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and numerous other heretical beliefs. How can someone who actually believes such heresy receive support from Bible believing Christians?
Now, before our LDS readers flood my Inbox: By posting this, I’m not saying this rendition of your doctrine is accurate. Honestly, I don’t really care, because the details are not the point. The point is this: I wouldn’t not vote for somebody simply because he holds a heretical belief. In fact, in at least one case, someone with heretical beliefs was one of the greatest leaders in American history.
That person was Thomas Jefferson. He is the best proof that the idea that’s popular today in many quarters of American evangelicalism that the Founding Fathers were all folks who would be very comfortable in our churches today is complete hogwash. President Jefferson actually put together his own Bible, one that excludes much of what evangelicals hold most dear. Yet it’s indisputable that despite his faults (which went well beyond theological issues) God used him powerfully to bless not only America, but the church. America and the world are much better places due to the existence of the Declaration of Independence, not to mention the existence of religious liberty, which I would argue is key to America’s history of sending the Gospel out to other nations.
Don’t get me wrong: Wrong theology is a huge issue. It can keep you out of heaven. And there are definitely cases in which it should keep you out of the White House–for instance, if your theology teaches that we should sacrifice infants. In that case, your theology is producing values that are inappropriate for a president. But in Gov. Romney’s case, his Mormonism pushes him in the right direction, toward the very values evangelicals espouse. And the God I serve is more than powerful enough to use a man whose theology may be off, just as he did with Thomas Jefferson–and just as he did with Cyrus in Old Testament times. So I’d answer our e-mailer’s question with a question: How can a Bible-believing Christian believe it’s up to us to deliver presidents God can use?